Let’s play a game. Somebody said you can’t get a decent $500 car anymore, but I think that is not entirely correct. Sure, you won’t find the plethora of running/driving cars that you could find 15 years ago, but you can still find an occasional gem in the guano. Find the best $500 car on your local craigslist/autotrader/facebashmorket/etc. I’ll kick this off with a 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider offered for $500 in Yucaipa, CA via craigslist.
This next car is a Fiat 850 Sport Spider that would have had a 843cc inline-4 that would have pushed a dismal 49 horsepower into the rear mounted transaxle. Today’s example, however, has been given an injection of speed and power in the form of the legendary tweetle-tweetle-Beetle engine. That’s right, a 1600cc dual port motor with a single carb and (to quote the seller) “twice the displacement, 10x the simplicity, and 100x the reliability!” I’ve never considered a VW engine to be an upgrade…but I guess this is the exception that proves the rule in cases not excepted. Find this 1969 Fiat 850 Sport Spider offered for $7,500 in Torrance, CA via craigslist.
We’ve all had a car that just made us feel happy. It might not have been the fastest car, or the nicest, or the most reliable, or prettiest. But it made you feel happy. Happy to get in it. Happy to wave at people on the road driving their bologna and American cheese on Wonderbread sandwich cars, while you drive in something that warms the cockles. Wait. Cockles? And why would cockles be warm? Did they get left in the back seat of a rear engine Fiat? And what are cockles anyway? Some kind of vestigial organ that your mother never told you about? No, that’s not right. I know what muscles are and I know that Molly Malone sells them with cockles that are alive (well…she is a fishmonger) so they must be some sorta shellfish or crustacean. Anyway, where was I? Ah, find this 1966 Fiat 850 Sport Coupe offered for $6,500 in Westfield, NJ via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
Turbocharged cars are a dime a dozen these days. But way back in the early 80s there were only a few cars with the snail shaped glowing/spinning things under the hood and they were mostly American cars like the Monte Carlo, Trans Am, and Buick Grand National…but if you did some research you could find a little company on the East Coast called Legend Industries that would turbocharge your Fiat Spider for a few bones. The Fiat Spider Turbo was as close as a factory installation as you could get and it even came new from a Fiat dealer with a factory warranty and today’s example needs nothing, except a new owner. Find this 1981 Fiat Spider Turbo offered for $14,990 in Edgewater, FL via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
This next car looks like it should cost way more than the asking price…and not in the way that the typical good deal looks on craigslist. No, this car looks like it should be collected by wealthy members of the elite driving clubs and not collected by the likes of people who frequent sites like Daily Turismo…errrr…not that we shouldn’t be driving nice cars, but so much of the fancy Italian stuff is so expensive to only be driven by the Jay Lenos of the world. Find this 1975 Fiat 130 Coupe offered for $14,500 in New Milford, CT via craigslist.
This next seller is asking a bucket full of cash for a Fiat X1/9, but to be honest I’m not 100% up-to-date with X1/9 pricing. These could be the next hot thing at all of the collector car auctions, but I do know that it’s got some wicked brown paint. And those bumper fangs are like bell-bottoms on a car. But the interior looks great and if all the gauges/electrics work, this could be a good little driver. Find this 1977 Fiat X1/9 offered for $8999 in Moorpark, CA via craigslist.
This next feature is probably the best ratio of used dollar to new dollar of any DT feature — including the half of million dollar Bentley Continental R. I don’t know what a box of 124 hand brakes for a Fiat Spider might have cost when new, but I can tell you that I want that box. Mostly because if I had a Spider, I’d have some spares. Lotta spares. The same goes for the handful of door panels, hoods, driveshaft support brackets…and oh…wait…that’s a box of Fiat 124 hand brakes, not a 124 count of hand brakes…well, this is still a steal for $1500. Why so cheap? Because the seller is getting out of the Fiat/Lancia business so he can concentrate on Maserati Biturbo parts….can’t find fault in that logic. Find this Warehouse Full of Lancia & Fiat Parts offered for $1500 (bring yer truck) in Santa Rosa, CA via craigslist.
This next car isn’t a Fiat 600. And the photographs aren’t in Brooklyn. Forgettaboutit. I’ve been to Brooklyn (my Pops grew up playing stickball in the streets of Red Hook) and while the graffiti in the background is not unusual, there is nary a patch of green grass nor a Connecticut style barn for miles around. Maybe the pictures were taken somewhere Upstate (or perhaps in New Jersey) because the seller was certain that the car would be stolen if he stepped far enough away to get a good full frame beauty shot. Anyway, with that out of the way, the car is a Zastava 750, which was a Fiat 600 built under license in Yugoslavia back from 1955 through 1985. Find this 1983 Zastava 750 offered for $14,000 in Brooklyn, NY via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The Saab 9000 was built on a shared Saab/Fiat platform that was also used in the 1984-1998 Lancia Thema, Saab 9000, Fiat Croma, and Alfa Romeo 164. This next example of the Saab/Fiat Type 4 platform features an unbeatable combo for a sub $1k car — executive class luxury, front drive safety, and Giorgetto Giugiaro styling. Tow it home, fix it stock, or start pushing up power with the easy to modify Saab B-series 4-cylinder. Find this 1996 Saab 9000 CSE offered for $600 in Castle Rock, OR via craigslist. Tip from Zach.
In an earlier post today, I wrote; Anybody who tells you that you need to spend a bunch of money to drive a nice classic car is full of it. But some of you felt that the N600 is just a bit too pedestrian, too slow, and not going to be fun, fast, or exciting to drive. Okay. I know what you want. You want something, a little more…Italian, but for the same low price. Ok, I’ve got something in mind. Find this 1973 Fiat 850 Sport Spider offered for $6990 in Orange County, CA via craigslist.